Published January 8, 2020


PEABODY — Last Saturday night, the Lynnfield High hockey team snapped a two-game losing streak as they beat host Pentucket 4-1 at Veterans Memorial Rink in Haverhill. With that win, the Pioneers improved to 4-3-1 overall and 1-1-1 in the Cape Ann League.

“That was a must-win for us after losing the last two games,” explained Pioneers head coach Jon Gardner.

The Sachems actually scored first with 3:19 left in the opening period.

Lynnfield tied it 4:14 into the second as Ronnie Fuccillo scored a shorthanded goal assisted by John Simonetti.

“That goal gave us a huge spark,” stated Gardner. “Our penalty kill has been really good so far this year so it was nice to score a shorthanded goal at that point.”

THE PIONEERS celebrate Sam Pifko’s (14) first of two goals during Lynnfield’s 4-1 win over Pentucket on Saturday. (Robin DeBenedictis Photo)

With 1:33 left in the second, the Pioneers took the lead for good as Dan Mack scored assisted by Sam Pifko.

Pifko then lit the lamp again with 4:07 remaining in the game assisted by Fuccillo and Nate Alves. Pifko then had the final tally as well, scoring with 20 seconds left as Simonetti assisted.

Lynnfield outshot the Sachems on goal 36-16 as Pioneer goalie Jake DeBenedictis made 16 stops to go to 4-3-1 in net.

On New Year’s Day afternoon, the Pioneers lost to visiting Gloucester 3-1 at McVann-O’Keefe Rink in Peabody.

Fishermen goalie Connor Vittands was the star of this game turning back 47 shots. The lone Pioneer goal came with 1.7 seconds left in the game as Phil Berquist scored his first career goal assisted by Mack and Alex Buonopane.

“That was the best goalie performance I have seen in the last three or four years,” said Gardner. “We were able to carry the play.”

The Fishermen had only 19 shots on goal.

Gloucester scored twice in the first period and then had an empty-net goal late in the third.

DeBenedictis gave up two goals as he had 16 saves.

On Dec. 30, the Pioneers had another non-league loss as they fell to host Medfield in a game played in Franklin, 4-1.

“It was a bad, perfect storm for us,” explained Gardner. “It was our fourth game in six days and we had some players that were banged up.”

Again, the Pioneers got off to a slow start as Medfield scored twice in the opening 15 minutes. The host then made it 3-0 in the second before Lynnfield finally got on the scoreboard when Jackson Hammersley scored on the power play. Chase Carney and Mack both assisted.

Medfield then scored their fourth goal a few minutes later.

Lynnfield outshot the Warriors 24-22 as DeBenedictis made 19 stops.

The next game for the Pioneers is on Jan. 9 when they play host Amesbury at the Haverhill Forum at 8:10 p.m. Lynnfield will welcome Westwood for a non-league game at noon on Jan. 11 at McVann-O’Keefe Rink.